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Old 04-20-2015, 06:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Using 70% alcohol fuel

My state sells 70% alcohol fuel (called E85) made from corn. It sells for 23% less than gasoline. Thought I would give it a try. My MPG dropped 7%. No warning lights or any other problems. Are there any potential problems from using this fuel?
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You cannot/should not use E85 with any car that is not made for E85.
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I believe that generally any electronic controlled fuel injected vehicle will compensate for the difference in fuel mixture fairly well. If your percentage of alcohol is high enough to throw sensor readings out of bounds then you may get a CEL. In general I wouldn't recommend straight E85 in a vehicle that isn't labelled for it, but, depending on price, you may want to mix it with E10 (our current normal gas).

Only a 7% drop in MPGs would indicate that either your car burns the ethanol pretty efficiently or they're not putting that high of a percentage of ethanol in the E85. E85 should be up to 85% ethanol, but maybe it's not. Was it labelled 70%?

Here's the math on the energy per volume for 85% ethanol vs 10% ethanol:
(unit is MJ/L, but it's the ratio that's important)
E10: (32.4 * 0.9) + (20.9 * 0.1) = 31.25
E85: (32.4 * 0.15) + (20.9 * 0.85) = 22.625

31.25-22.625 / 31.25 = 0.276
or basically, should be a 27.6% drop in energy per volume using E85
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The Honda dealership near me says they will not warranty the fuel system etc for cars run on 15% or more gasohol.
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It's labeled as 70% alcohol. I put 5 gallons in the first time, then 9. I was surprised at how little the MPG dropped. As for a warranty, I'm putting it into a 15 year old beater.
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Old 04-21-2015, 07:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryankwalton View Post
You cannot/should not use E85 with any car that is not made for E85.
Agree. E15 cars aren't set up for it. If used long term, it might have some effect on various seals, etc.

I used a tank once in an Echo with no apparent ill effects. I'd dilute the stuff with E15 when it got down to 1/4 tank or so.
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ive mixed 6 gallons of e85 with 4 of regular gas. No problems, but its a gen 2. Currently e85 is 50 cents more still than regular gas. It was cheaper when gas was over 3 bucks a gallon.



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Old 04-21-2015, 08:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Where I'm at it's 2.39 for E10 gas, 2.79 for E0 and 1.79 for E85. It beats my friends 12.5/1 compression 56 chevy....110 leaded octane fuel is $60 for 5 gallon jug.
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default 70% ethanol

Most vehicles built to use E85 have stainless steal fuel filters and lines as well as larger injectors and higher volume fuel pumps. Alcohol draws in water from the air and tends to corrode fuel systems more than E-free fuels. The reason you get less MPGs with Ethanol blended fuels is they require more fuel flow to equal the BTUs of E-free fuel.
Do a cost per mile comparison with the various fuels to determine which is actually cheaper to use.
My cost per mile difference between E0 and E10 is about equal (.002cents) but the range per tank is greater with E0.
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Old 04-23-2015, 01:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You will use about 20-25% more fuel to achieve the same energy level as gasoline. @ E70 thats probably closer to 15-18%. There is still some residual gasoline in your tank plus the 30% gasoline in the E70 you are using. Your car will certainly be down on power, will throw system too lean code once you max your fuel trims compensation. But the real damage is to come when the alcohol washes out all the soot and sediment from your gas tank and lines into the inlets of the injectors and they clog. Thats when you will burn up pistons/valves from fuel starvation. I have been tuning ethanol EFI engines for 10 years and this is very common for vehicles that have been used on gasoline for some time and then switch. If you intend to do it, do it right and have the ECU remapped/piggyback with larger injectors before you burn up the engine from running way too lean. Ethanol for a naturally aspirated car will never be efficient, save money, make any sense unless your OCTANE LEVEL is otherwise insufficient to deter detonation (high compression pistons) or turbocharged / supercharged.
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Last edited by MaximumFuelage; 04-23-2015 at 01:07 PM.
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